Works progress to re-open Oxley Highway


22 April 2021

Work to re-open the Oxley Highway is powering ahead, with new footage showing the extent of damage caused by last month’s wild weather on a 120-kilometre stretch between Yarras and Walcha.

Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said crews from Transport for NSW, Walcha Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council were working hard in challenging conditons along the steep stretch to restore access as quickly as possible.

"The Oxley Highway is an important corridor for local communities and tourists, but reopening will be no easy task, particularly as some of these slips were from below the roadway, making it dangerous for repair crews to access the sites," Mr Barilaro said.

"The NSW Government is committed to building a safer and stronger regional NSW by helping communities get back on their feet after the devastating floods."

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said crews are working around the clock to re-open key regional roads like the Oxley Highway so local communities could keep moving.

"The recent floods caused 70 landslips along the Oxley Highway, and this latest vision of the repair job shows the difficult nature of the work being carried out by crews, geotechnical experts and local contractors," Mr Toole said.

"Crews also remain on the ground all over the state working hard to fix damage to the road network, and have been able to open 26 of the 30 affected roads since the flood event."

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the focus for the Oxley Highway re-opening was now on completing engineering trials to determine the best way to stabilise sections that have slipped.

"Getting the Oxley fully re-opened will be a long process as it remains dangerous for repair crews to access several sites, particularly where slips have occurred below the roadway, but the community can rest assured we’re moving as quickly and as safely as possible," Mrs Pavey said.

"We're carrying out more investigation work, with extensive drilling and soil nailing operations being undertaken before we can finalise the repair design. Just removing fallen rocks, soil and debris is a difficult job, with tipper trucks at times needing to travel kilometres to find a safe area to turn around."

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the stretch of highway between Walcha and Yarras will soon be reopened in sections, initially to a single lane using an alternate traffic flow system.

"Earlier, we provided access for emergency vehicles, for those working to restore essential services to local residents, and for residents along some sections of the highway," Mr Anderson said.

"And to see work progress to re-open sections to a single lane will be very welcome news for our businesses and communities. I thank them for understanding the challenges we are facing to get traffic back on this vital transport and freight route as soon and as safely possible.”

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